Residents of charred Adams apartment building salvage what they can
ADAMS — Residents of some apartments at 72 Park St. spent the day clearing out what's left of their belongings.
Flames tore through parts of the third floor and the 10-unit building's attic on Friday afternoon, leaving the residents of eight apartments, including several children, without a home.
No residents were injured in the blaze and at least three cats were saved, but untold thousands of dollars of damage was caused to the building and possessions. It's unclear what the future of the building is and when residents will be allowed back inside.
The decision to allow residents and the lone business, Carolyn's Tax Service, back inside will be made by the town building inspector and an insurance adjuster, according to Adams Fire Chief Paul Goyette.
The entire building remains evacuated because the gas supply and electricity service have been cut off, according to Goyette.
Residents were allowed in the building between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday to grab what they could.
Residents cleared their apartments and the adjacent driveway, which was splattered with debris that firefighters tossed while clearing the attic on Friday.
In the northeastern corner of the building, what the fire didn't engulf and char was often damaged by water.
Heather and Marcus Moore had lived in the building nearly a decade and were attempting to salvage what they could from the building. They were told they had two hours to clean out anything worth saving — a deadline they couldn't meet — and the rest would be disposed of.
Some of their two boys' clothing looked like it could be kept, but would need thorough washing. An antique chest was badly burned, but appeared to be worth keeping. But other possessions, including pieces of furniture crafted by family members, were too far gone to fix and are irreplaceable.
By late afternoon the family had accrued an array of belongings on the back parking lot. Then they worked with friends to figure out where to store all of those possessions, as there's not yet a long-term plan for shelter.
"Because we don't have anywhere to live, we kind of have to cut our losses," Heather Moore said.
Funds for the families displaced by the fire sprung up quickly on social media.
In the first 16 hours it was active the Moore Family Fund on freefunder.com raised $2,370, blowing past the original goal of $1,482. The fund was created to assist Heather and Marcus Moore, who were displaced from their third-floor apartment along with their two young children.
The Holly Dix and Mike Burns Fund was also launched on Friday and quickly garnered support. Created by Dix's sister Michaelia St. Jacques, the page on gofundme.com has a goal of $5,000 and brought in more than $2,300 in its first active day, according to the website.
The fire has been deemed accidental and not suspicious, according to Goyette. It appears to have started in a kitchen.
Goyette said crews were on the scene until 11:30 p.m. last night monitoring for any hot spots. They returned this morning to recover the salvage gear used to protect Carolyn's Tax Service, which the chief said appeared to be effective in minimizing any damage to the business.
The Adams firefighter taken away from the scene by ambulance was treated for dehydration and released, according to Goyette.
Seven fire departments responded to the scene.
"It just was a community effort and countywide effort," Goyette said.
Trevor Crombie, the building's owner, declined to comment when reached on Saturday.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.